AN RAF pilot has been recognised for his daring rescue of a seven-month-old baby after two hurricanes hit the Caribbean last year.
Flight Lieutenant Alexander Eveson has been awarded the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service after he saved the life of a seven-month-old baby girl on September 22 last year.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria battered the Caribbean last year, with buildings reduced to their foundations, lush green hillsides stripped of foliage, and a state of emergency declared.
The destruction sparked a major UK aid operation.
The RAF Chinook pilot, who is part of 27 Squadron and based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, was tasked with flying to the island of Dominica to rescue the child, who was struggling to breathe and it was feared she would die without medical attention.
With no other aircraft available for the mission, the two pilots, two aircrew and two medics flew to the island through treacherous conditions, at a very low level over the sea.
Speaking to the Press Association, Flight Lieutenant Alexander Eveson, 34, said: ‘It was a bit sketchy en-route, obviously the weather was still pretty poor... lots of tropical rainstorms and heavy clouds in the area
‘It was quite a lonely and frightening flight because all the air traffic controllers and radar services were down on the islands because they had to reduce power because of the hurricanes.
‘We were very much on our own out there... it was weather that on anything other than a lifesaving mission, you probably would not think twice about returning to base in.’
Describing receiving the award as an ‘incredible honour’ that took him by surprise, he stressed the rescue was ‘undoubtedly a crew effort’, and that he is pleased to see the efforts of the Chinook detachment recognised.
Also handed a Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service were Major Tom Quinn and Sergeants William MacFarlane and James Oldale from the Royal Marines 40 Commando, as well as Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Amy Gilmore.